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Final

Final Exam Study Notes


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL235H1
Professor
Elmar J.Kremer
Study Guide
Final

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Religion – a shared set of beliefs about the ultimate source of being and value (such as
goodness), with consequent social practices and moral principles.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered as paradigm cases of religion.
Most non-theistic religious stances do not include a unified belief about the ultimate
origin of being and ultimate origin of value. Materialism is an example of a non-theistic
religion on the ultimate source of being, but not on the ultimate source of value.
Humanism and Buddhism are examples of non-theistic religion on the ultimate source of
value, but not about the ultimate source of being.
Since theism identifies the ultimate origin of being with the ultimate origin of value, it
implies that the world is good.
Logical Positivism – an approach that puts a lot of emphasis on natural science. It
utilizes natural science to test a concept.
Verification principle – created by a group of philosophers known as the Vienna Circle,
it is the principle that states a statement has factual meaning if it can be verified on the
basis of sense experience.
Strong verificationism – a sentence has factual meaning if and only if it is conclusively
verifiable on the basis of sense experience.
Problems with strong verificationism:
Some factually meaningful statements cannot be conclusively verified. E.g. All gold
melts at T.
Some factually meaningful statements cannot be conclusively falsified. E.g. My cat
Tibbles is mortal.
Some factually meaningful statements cannot be conclusively verified or falsified.
E.g. All cats are mortal.
Weak verificationism – a sentence has factual meaning if and only if it is verified in
some way.
Problems with weak verificationism:
Needs to provide some evidence if not conclusive evidence in order to be verified.
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Problematic as minor evidences of factual statements can verify concepts that are not
accepted by verificationists and also not measured on sense experience.
Kalaam Cosmological Argument:
1) The world has a beginning.
2) If something has a beginning, it has a cause distinct from itself.
Therefore,
3) The world has a cause distinct from itself.
Sadiaa ben Joseph argument for premise 1):
If the world did not have a beginning, then an infinite number of days has been
traversed up to the present day.
An infinite number of days cannot be traversed.
Therefore,
The world has a beginning
St. Thomas Aquinas argument against Ben Joseph (does not disprove argument but does
provide a sense of skepticism):
Passage is always from term to term. Whatever by-gone day we choose, from it to the
present day there is a finite number of days which can be traversed.
Infinite sets argument for Kalaam Cosmological argument:
Adding a new member to an infinite set does not make it any larger.
Therefore,
If the past history of the world is an infinity large set of events, then the world is not
getting older. But it seems clear that the world is getting older.
Argument by Davies on cause of the existence of the world is an intelligent being:
1) The cause of existence of the world is not a material object (part of the universe).
2) If a cuase is not a material thing, then it is an intelligent, personal agent.
Therefore,
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3) The cause of existence of the world is an intelligent, personal agent.
Hume’s objection: it is not necessary that whatever begins to exist has a cause.
1) The separation of the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence is possible
for the imagination.
Therefore,
2) To say that something begins to exist without any cause involves no contradiction or
absurdity.
Anscombe points out that Premise 1) is ambiguous as it could mean:
For any particular cause, it is possible to imagine a thing as beginning to exist without
imagining that cause.
It is possible to imagine a thing as beginning to exist without any cause.
The first meaning is true but does not lead to premise 2) whereas the second meaning
would lead to premise 2) but it is false.
2 Senses of Causes:
A cause maybe a person – Cain killed Abel, in this example Cain is a cause as he
acts upon something causing it to change in a particular way.
A cause may be an event – Tom’s thought of an ice cream cone caused him to be
hungry.
If something causes the world to begin to exist, then that cause is not an event, for every
event has a beginning of its existence.
Leibniz’s cosmological argument:
a)There are contingent things.
b) Neither in any single contingent thing, nor in the whole aggregate and series of such
things, can there be found the sufficient reason of existence i.e. the reason why any
such things exist.
Therefore,
c)There is non-contingent (necessary) being which explains the existence of contingent
things.
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